Painted Turtes, (Chrysemys picta) are the most popular pet turtle sold in the USA. They have striking colors but their care can be a little complicated if kept indoors. They are a shy species and they originate from the United States. With the rightcare these turtles can live for decades.
Even though they start off small, the painted turtle can reach a length of 10-12 inches indiameter. They have a greenish shell with an underneath color of orange or red. Their striking appearance of the bottom of their sell gives them the name "painted" because of the orange and red mixture of color. They have claws on their toes that can scratch you if they feel threatened.
Due to their shyness, painted turtles do not like to be handled a whole lot, but if you hold them enough, they will start accepting it with time. A painted turtle will probably never bite you. They may scratch you and retreat into their shell, however.
Painted turtles are omnivores and have a fairly large appetite. It is easiest if you feed your turtle in a separate container such as a plastic bin, that way you don't get and leftover food clogging up the filtration system. This means you will have to change the water less frequently
Variety is important for this species and they should not solely rely on turtle pellets. These pellets can be used, but also feed them corn, lettuce, and they will even take frozen shrimp as treats. The only food that does not have to be fed in the tub is feeder fish. The fish can go directly into the tank. Painted turtles are not picky eaters.
Painted turtles can spend nearly their entire lives in the water. A juvenile turtle will need a 20-30 gallon tank and adults require a larger 50-70 gallon tank to be happy. Fill the entire tank except for the top 8 inches with water. Be sure to provide a floating turtle dock above the water. These can be bought from a local pet store and are fairly inexpensive.
A water filter should be purchased and used so that your turtle can swim comfortably and it makes the full tank clean out easier. It is best to house each turtle separately because they can fight and may spread diseases.
If you are looking for the perfect setup for the Painted Turtle, then you might want to check out the 14.5 gallons Small Animals knock-down reptile tank 20" x 12" x 14" sold at ReptiZoo. Our company is not affiliated with ReptiZoo but will receive a small referral commission. Click the image below for more details on this beautiful enclosure.
A substrate is not needed because it make cleanup more of a chore but if you choose to, go with 3 inches of gravel suitable for aquariums on the bottom of the tank because they will crawl along it. There should also be other objects both in and on top of the water for them in the tank to play with and crawl around.
In the water, you can add whatever you want to make the tank attractive. Some fake seaweed or other object may be beneficial to your painted turtle.
Even though they spend most of their time in the water, they should be able to rise out of the water and bask under a bulb to dry off. This bulb should keep the basking area 85-90F during the day and can be turned off at night. Shell rot can occur if a turtle is not allowed to bask.
It is the easiest to clean the entire turtle tank at once. The best way to do this is to take all of the objects out of the tank and rinse them in water and a 5% bleach solution. Before you start cleaning, remove the turtle and place it in a plastic shoebox with a lid. Be sure the box has air holes. Then remove the gravel and water from the tank and spray the tank clean with plain water. Do not use bleach or cleaning devices inside the tank. Put new gravel in the tank and fill with water again. Put the other accessories back in. Do this whenever you feel it is necessary or when the filter is full.
Before breeding, you must remember that you should never release or take turtles out of the wild due because that can harm the painted turtle population. The turtles you raise must be sold or kept in captivity.
To breed painted turtles, place the male and female in a 50-70 gallon tank setup the same way as a normal tank. In the spring they should begin courting and will mate within a week or two. A female will start to lose its appetite as the eggs begin to develop. When she is ready to lay the eggs, she and the male should be put in a 20-30 gallon enclosure filled with about 6 inches of loose dirt for the female to dig in. She will lay the eggs in the dirt and will rest. The first year, the eggs may not all turn out, but they will get better as time goes on. Once eggs are laid, place them in an incubator.
After the laying process give the female a lot of calcium and move them back into their original tank as soon as the eggs are laid.
After incubation the eggs will hatch and you will have a bunch of small turtles if you did everything right. Hatchlings should be cared for the same way as adults. Start them off in a smaller tank and move them into bigger ones as they grow.
The painted turtle can be found all across North America. They have cool patterns on their shells and are the first thing to come to mind when turtles are mentioned. Their care is not easy, but the rewards can be great. Remember, do your research before buying any pet so that it can live happily and healthily.
I want to thank you for your great customer service, prompt shipping and most of all for "Miss Daisy". She arrived in a beautifully prepared shipping container with plenty of damp moss. After a soak and a rest, she devoured two worms. She has all fingers and toes, plump, in great shape. Thank you again!
Laura Grosvenor - April 5, 2012
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